Walsh, Huskies top CJ II;

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first_img Walsh, Huskies top CJ II; CHRIS KELLY Matawan’s Thomas Walsh finishes first in the boys’ Central Jersey Group II race at Holmdel Park on Saturday. Eagles’ boys and girls first Cross country titles abound at state sectional meet By tim morris CHRIS KELLY Middletown North’s Amanda Scibetta finishes 17th overall in the girls’ CJ Group IV race at Holmdel Park on Saturday. Staff Writer Prior to Saturday’s Central Jersey Group II Championships at Holmdel Park, Matawan Regional High School had never won a state sectional title. Now, thanks to an individual win by Thomas Walsh and a solid group effort, Matawan has two championships. “It’s a big thing,” Walsh said of Matawan’s title. “It’s a real accomplishment for the team.” Walsh did his part for the Huskies, winning the state sectional title in 16:43.0. The sophomore paced himself wisely for the first third of the race, took charge leaving the bowl and then outran everyone over the last mile. He led virtually from start to finish. “I ran the first mile a bit easier today and pushed the last mile,” Walsh said. “I took smaller steps up the bowl and that made a difference.” It was a breakthrough 16:34 at the Monmouth County Championships last month that paved the way for Walsh’s Central Jersey title. “I had no idea I could do that until I ran 16:34 in the county,” he said. Now, with a state sectional title under his belt, Walsh has established himself as one of the state’s top underclassmen. Behind Walsh, the Huskies ran superbly. Chris Bradley was third (17:11.2) and John Smith, 10th (1738.4). Matawan clinched its first sectional cross country title with Donald Norbut taking 19th (18:10.5) and Erison Hurtault (18:19.0) 21st. The Huskies had 54 points, easily beating runner-up Hopewell Valley (80). Middletown South’s boys pulled off one of the day’s biggest surprises by topping defending champion Red Bank Regional for the Group III title, 69-76. The Bucs’ Rob Dennis repeated as the individual champion (16:27.5), but the Eagles soared by, packing their first four runners in the top 15 and then clinching it with a 27th by fifth man Oliver Haller. Dan Ciambrone ran as close to Dennis as he could, and that resulted in a second place (16:37.4). Matt Tacheron (17:58.9), Ray Brennessel (17:59.2) and Blaise Hickman (18:02.6) set the stage for the upset by finishing 12th, 13th and 14th. That helped make up the Bucs’ putting three runners in the first seven. Fifth man Haller (18:15.6) had an 11-point edge on the Bucs’ fifth man, and that enabled the Eagles to pull off the victory. Holmdel was third (106), led by Leo Vignone’s third place (16:51.9). Alex Emerel was 16th (18:03.2). Middletown South’s girls used their five-runner pack to offset the superior one-two punches of Red Bank Regional and Princeton. The Eagles’ depth prevailed with 68 points, followed by Princeton (97) and RBR (110). RBR’s Katy Trotter picked up Saturday’s win in 18:16.7 with twin sister Amanda at her side in 18:16.9. Kolleen McCauley led the South effort with an eighth place (20:04.5), with teammate Jaimie Liberti right on her heels in ninth (20:06.8). They were followed by Tina Morrison (20:16.8), 12th; Lisa Zino (20:58.1), 15th; and Jane Wood (21:21.8), 24th. The top 10 individuals and top five teams at the sectionals advance to Saturday’s NJSIAA State Group Championships at Holmdel Park. By tim morrisStaff Writer Eagles last_img

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